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The New Interpreter's Bible: Genesis to Leviticus (Volume 1) Hardcover – September 1, 1994

4.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It's been more than 40 years since The Interpreter's Bible (IB) was first published (1951-57). With this volume, Abingdon Press (a division of the United Methodist Publishing House) begins publication of a new edition of the set, scheduled to appear in 12 volumes over the next six years. With an 11-person editorial board chaired by Leander E. Keck (Yale University Divinity School), 14 consultants, and 97 contributors, The New Interpreter's Bible (NIB) "is to bring the best in contemporary biblical scholarship into the service of the church to enhance preaching, teaching, and study of the scriptures."

NIB is an ecumenical work with some 25 religions represented among the contributors, though the majority come from Protestant denominations. Nevertheless, as Keck points out in his introduction, the writers in NIB are a far more theologically diverse group than those in IB, which "inevitably reflected the perspectives of white male liberal Protestants." Keck notes that contributors include 22 women (compared with one in IB) as well as African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American authors.

This first volume includes general essays on the biblical canon and English versions of the Bible and various essays on biblical interpretation and the Old Testament. These introductory essays alone suggest the increased ecumenism of the work; witness the series of essays with such titles as "Reading the Bible as African Americans" and "Reading the Bible as Asian Americans." The bulk of the volume consists of texts and commentary on the books of Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus. As in IB, the work features two translations and commentary. Unlike IB, however, the dual translations are the New International Version and the New Revised Standard Version, replacing the Authorized (King James) Version and Revised Standard Version of IB. The translations stand out nicely on a green background. The other significant change is that commentary appears after the various units of scripture (such as Genesis 50:15-21 or Exodus 20:12-17) rather than right in the middle of the translations, as was the case with IB, which printed the exegesis and exposition on the same pages as the translation. This created a somewhat confusing appearance for the novice. Each section of the scripture concludes with a "Commentary" and "Reflections." The introductory essay, "Features of The New Interpreter's Bible," indicates that the "Commentary" is an exegetical analysis while the "Reflections" "are meant to stimulate the thought of preachers and teachers." The work is extensively footnoted, and there are several bibliographies as well.

The Board noticed a few minor problems. The text is often of light type; while certainly not unreadable, differences in darkness can be noted from page to page. Also, many of the main, boldface headings in the essays appear in a difficult-to-read green typeface, though many headings also appear in black. Like IB, maps and illustrations are few and far between. Nevertheless, this volume represents an excellent start to the new series. Although the Board will withhold final judgment until the set is complete, academic and public libraries will almost certainly want to add this reasonably priced volume to their collections.

About the Author

Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. A past president of the Society of Biblical Literature, he is one of today's preeminent interpreters of Scripture.

Leander E. Keck, convener of the Editorial Board and Senior New Testament Editor, is Winkley Professor of Biblical Theology Emeritus at Yale Divinity School.

2001 TERENCE E. FRETHEIM is Elva B. Lovell Professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and has been on the faculty of 7 seminary schools, including Princeton, Graduate Theological Union, Vancouver and McCormick. He has authored or contributed to eighteen books, four by Abingdon and a forthcoming commentary on Jeremiah.

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Product Details

  • Series: New Interpreter's Bible (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 1195 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press; y First printing edition (September 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0687278147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0687278145
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 8 x 2.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #729,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The New Interpreter's Bible is a twelve-volume series, updating the popular Interpreter's Bible from a few decades ago. There are several key features common to all of the volumes of this series. First, each includes a two-column, double translation of the Biblical text (NIV - New International Version, and NRSV - New Revised Standard Version) arranged by topical unit or story. Then, they provide commentaries that look at the passages as a whole, as well as verse-by-verse. Third, interesting Reflection pieces that relate the passages to each other, to history, and to current concerns occur at the conclusion of each passage. Fourth, introductory articles for each book are provided that discuss transmission, historical background, cultural setting, literary concerns, and current scholarship. Finally, there are general articles about the Bible, each Testament, and various types of literature (Narrative, Gospel, Wisdom Literature, etc.) are provided to give general placement and knowledge about the text overall.
The list of contributors, editors, and consultants on the project is a veritable Who's Who of biblical and theological scholarship, representing all major traditions and schools of thought liberal and conservative. Leander Keck, of the Yale Divinity School, is the primary editor of the series.
The volumes were published individually, and can be purchased individually, which is a good thing, given that they are a bit expensive. But for any serious biblical scholar, preacher, student, or enthusiast, they are invaluable.
--Volume I--
The first volume of this twelve-volume set naturally has the book of Genesis. However, before getting into the text itself, this volume provides a generous collection of essays and articles.
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Format: Hardcover
Most people understand that the study of Scripture is an enormous task; and that there is a considerable theological heritage to even the most benign of passages. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to translate that understanding into a willingness to genuinely delve into the vast pool of material out there. In addition, it's hard to know whom to trust.

You can trust the New Interpreter's Bible series. All of the scholars who contributed are the best in their field. In addition, the layout (which includes two complete translations - the NIV and the NRSV) is conducive to both scholarly and spiritual study of the texts.

Each text is broken down into discrete units followed by general commentary on the passage, verse by vers analysis of key issues, and then an overview of study questions. The commentators address issues of authorship, historical setting, translation, theological history, and personal application. In addition, they graciously point to excellent sources for further reading.

Speaking as a pastor, it is my strong opinion that every English-speaking Christian who is serious about Bible study should own the complete set.
Comment 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
There are many commentaries of the Bible out there on the market. In fact, the market seems so glutted with them it is hard to know what to choose. Every Christian bookstore usually has three or more shelves filled with commentaries, but as the old saying goes, quantity is not quality.

One thing I found very dissapointing with previous Bible commentaries and study bibles is the authors were very unwilling to actually question the Bible and what occurs in it. "It is right, because it is God's infallible word, and because it is God's infallible word, everything in it is right" is basically the sort of philosophy I came across in Evangelical and other commentaries which seem to dominate the stores here. But does this philosophy make sense when so many religions have their own book(s) and claim them to be the infallible word of the Deity or Deities that dictate them? What about the complex historical and literary questions surrounding the four canonical gospels, and the nature of the historical Jesus? What about the terrible violence and rapine we see in so much of the Old Testament, much of it seemingly ordained by God? What about the extra-canonical books from which the composers of the Bible drew inspiration (especially the New Testament and the emphasis on a coming apocalypse, or Jude's quoting by Enoch?) On what authority do we judge the Bible to be authoritative?

This commentary has answered all of my questions to my great relief and satisfaction, without destroying my faith. The great thing about this commentary is it tackles these problems head on without sticking their heads in the intellectual sand and resorting to empty sophistry to defend the authority and canonicity of the Bible.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been a student of the bible most of my life, and have compared numerous commentaries and translations over and over, without finding very satisfactory explainations for most of the passages. I just acquired the complete set of The New Interpreter's Bible, and have read some of the general articles and the Genesis commentary from Vol. 1. I am extremely picky- but absolutely love the commentary, and find it right on the mark with my independent thoughts (I had lost hope that anyone would ever see it the way I do; most commentaries seemed to me not to ring of the truths in the passages). In addition, many more things are brought to light that I had never thought of in detail before, as well as things I had overlooked. I have renewed faith in the Bible due to this very enlightening commentary. The author is exceptionally good- my only complaint is that there are a few too many 'seminary' terms the general public is not familiar with.
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